Swimming: High praise for Jackson as Adlington rediscovers winning touch

JO Jackson's fifth-place finish at the European Championships is worth just as much as Rebecca Adlington's gold medal, according to the double Olympic champion.

Adlington, fourth in the 400m freestyle at last year's World Championships as Jackson clinched silver, finally rediscovered her golden touch on the final night in Budapest but her compatriot struggled.

Northallerton's Jackson arrived in Hungary with few expectations after her asthma became so bad over the winter that it caused her serious breathing problems, and a rib injury provoked a drastic lack of form.

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The Olympic bronze medallist appeared to turn the corner after helping Great Britain to European 4x100m freestyle silver and 4x200m freestyle bronze earlier in the week.

But her breathing problems got the better of her again come the 400m freestyle and she could only touch home fifth in 4:09.14minutes, 4.59seconds behind Adlington.

But the newly crowned European champion insists 23-year-old Jackson – who was taken straight to medical staff after finishing the 400m freestyle final – cannot be faulted for effort.

"She swam an amazing race then given all the problems she has had," said Adlington.

"To do what she has just done after everything she has gone through – when she was seeing the doctor she was struggling to breathe – was unbelievable. I'm so proud."

Rotherham's Joe Roebuck was brought back down to earth with a bump, crashing out of the 400m medley heats four days after claiming 200m medley bronze.

The 25-year-old secured his first major medal by overhauling Gal Nevo on Wednesday but saw his attempts to take it easy in the 400m event backfire.

With only two swimmers per nation allowed to progress to the final Roebuck came up one place short.

"I'm really disappointed because I thought I had figured it out with four Hungarians in the race and with only two going through it should have been a bit easier," said Roebuck.

"I think I relied on that a bit too much and thought that I had those extra places to play with but I just timed it wrong."

Lizzie Simmonds was denied a shot at a third medal in Budapest after being overlooked as part of the British quartet for the 4x100m medley relay final.

Backstroke specialist Simmonds, from Beverley, helped Britain progress out of the heats but made way for Gemma Spofforth, who alongside Fran Halsall, Amy Smith and Kate Haywood took gold in the final.

The nation's leading energy supplier British Gas is the Principal Partner of British Swimming, and have pledged 15m to support the sport at all levels – from paddling pool to podium. For more information visit www.britishgas.co.uk/swimming